Homemade Butter
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: K-3

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Making butter in pioneer times was a difficult chore. Churning was physically tiring, and it took a long time. Usually the young girls would be the ones to churn and they would make up rhymes to sing and help pass the time. Make butter at home with the recipe below. Make sure to make up rhymes and songs to help pass the time, because a healthy dose of patience is part of the recipe!

1 quart-size glass jar with a screw-top lid 2 cups of whipping cream mixing bowl
4-5 ice cubes (leave in freezer until ready to use) 1/4 teaspoon salt butter dish

1. Wash the jar and lid thoroughly with a little dish soap and hot water. Dry completely.
2. Take cream from refrigerator (leave it in its sealed container). Place cream and jar in a warm place such as next to the stove or in the sun. Let stand for two hours.
3. Put warm cram in the jar and tighten on the lid. Hold the jar with one end in each hand. Shake up and down non-stop for 15 to 20 minutes. Now is the time to try those rhymes! Also, try taking turns with a friend.
4. As the butter begins to form from the cream it will separate or "gather" and stick together in a solid mass. If, after 20 minutes, butter has not begun to gather, add a few teaspoons of hot water, replace the lid and mix again.
5. Once the butter ball stops getting any larger, open the jar and pour the buttermilk into a glass. Try drinking it. Buttermilk was considered a real treat on the frontier!
6. Wash your hands with soap and hot water.
7. Put the butter in the mixing bowl and add the ice cubes. Work the melt water into the butter just until it feels cold. Discard the remaining ice cubes and water.
8. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the surface of the butter and then mix it into the butter until it completely disappears.
9. Shape the butter into any pattern you like - a square, star, circle, flower, animal or any think you like. Pioneers often had carved butter molds the they pressed their new butter into. When they came out of the mold, the butter had a beautiful pattern in it.
10. Place it on the butter dish and store it in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Related Lesson Topics:
Geography: Geography Topics

Lesson Plan provided by Vita Taube, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: